The Liberal Democrats today admitted it was ‘rational’ to give Labor a clear race in areas where they can take on the Tories – amid demands for a secret election pact.
Party leader Sir Ed Davey insisted he made no apologies for putting “scarce resources where we think we can win”.
But in a series of interviews days before local elections, he denied there was a formal agreement with Keir Starmer.
Conservative Chairman Oliver Dowden has accused Sir Keir of withdrawing candidates “from swathes of the country” where Lib Dem support is strong to avoid splitting the anti-Tory vote.
And he alleges Sir Ed Davey’s party has returned the favor where Labor dominates elsewhere.
Both rejected the idea – reminiscent of the Lib and Lab electoral rapprochements of the 1970s – and Sir Ed today repeated that there was no pact.
“Political parties have to make rational decisions,” Sir Ed told LBC. “You would expect us to make rational decisions and put our scarce resources where we think we can win.”
In another interview, he told PA News: “I welcome politicians from all parties who share similar political positions, who change their political positions to be more aligned with us; of course I welcome that. .
“And there is no doubt that Keir Starmer is much more central than (former Labor leader and Sir Keir’s predecessor) Jeremy Corbyn. I mean, this is not news. And I think it’s a good thing for British politics if people are more towards what I call the reformist centre.
But Sir Ed said: ‘There is no pact. There will be no pact.
In a series of interviews days before the local elections, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey (right) denied there was a pact with Keir Starmer (left)
Boris Johnson’s haters (pictured today) are waiting for the election to end – and Partygate investigations to conclude – before deciding whether to push for a vote of no confidence
In a letter to Sir Keir over the weekend, Mr Dowden said Sir Keir planned to ‘deny voters a proper democratic choice’ on Thursday.
Tory strategists fear a beating in the polls this week, which comes following months of damaging ‘Partygate’ headlines over alleged lockdown breaches at No 10.
Many of Mr Johnson’s enemies in the party have said they are waiting until after the election – and the conclusion of Partygate’s investigations – before deciding whether to push for a vote of no confidence.
Mr Johnson is also reeling from the fallout from the resignation of Tory MP Neil Parish, who admitted watching porn twice in Parliament.
A shock survey today revealed Labor is on course to win more than 800 councilors in Thursday’s contests.
Meanwhile, the Tories could see their numbers plunge by 548 – in what would be a disastrous outcome for the Prime Minister as MPs mull a coup following the Partygate scandal.
It would be the worst Conservative representation since Tony Blair was leader of the Labor Party, with flagship councils such as Wandsworth and Westminster at stake as well as Southampton and Thurrock.
The latest research for Electoral Calculus and Find Out Now polled 1,749 adults across the 201 councils who voted this week.
The latest research for Electoral Calculus and Find Out Now polled 1,749 adults across the 201 councils who voted this week